Build your dream Network
Boost your career through your Network
Scott Gerber & Ryan Paugh
My needs, my why
In an entrepreneurial approach, networking is essential to the survival of our project or to the smooth running of our client research. Having already participated in several networking events and having read the book “Expanding your network” by Diane Reinhard last year, I have some basics, but I now want to learn more about the theoretical models of networking.
Having a lot of contacts on LinkedIn is great, but how do I apply a strategy to maintain a useful link with my network?
Currently in Finland, it has been difficult for me to keep in touch with the Swiss network. The only way I can keep up with my network is through LinkedIn. So it will be very important for me to post content to share my experience in Proakatemia. For me this is purely social networking, I had until now very little need to create and increase my professional network. When I needed contacts, I used my network but more my close acquaintances.
Next semester (semester 5 Switzerland) I will do a three-week internship in a company of my choice, so it is important that I target not only my desires but also the companies I know or the contacts I have to facilitate my search. Being a very sociable person, I am not afraid to go and meet and talk to companies, but I need to be able to target them. These days, 75% of new jobs are not posted on search platforms. These jobs are found through our professional network. (Rey) I had the chance to meet a headhunter last year and that’s when I realised that networking is everything. He told me that if they had recommendations through the network, they would not even open the applications that were sent formally.
Networking is about developing and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships. In networking, we establish and maintain relationships for the purpose of exchanging knowledge, assistance, referrals, information and introductions.
When maintaining a network relationship, focus on understanding the other person’s interests, needs and goals. As we learn more about a person, we think about who we know that might be able to help our new contact.
Networking is all about generosity and caring. Relationships are created and nurtured generously, with the expectation of reciprocity.
In short, networking relationships are real relationships, not superficial meetings. (Jégo, n.d.)
Always start with our relational network. The people in our environment, family, friends, neighbours, sports colleagues are the first category of network. In our listing, it can also be interesting to mention people that our entourage may know.
In the book Super Connector, authors Scott Gerber and Ryan Paugh say that networking, in their view, is dead. We’ve lost sight of the real purpose of networking, which has become a secondary activity of meeting people, exchanging business cards and connecting on LinkedIn.
In reality, networking is about building lasting and mutually beneficial relationships. The authors conclude that the value of networking lies in the quality of the relationships, not the number of connections.
Ryan and Scott provide a roadmap for becoming a connector and a super connector. They start by helping us understand how to think like a connector, not a networker. They use anecdotes, such as the story of Lewis Howes, an entrepreneur and author. Howes refuses to network; for him it has become a transactional relationship. Instead of networking in the traditional sense, he focuses on making connections and adding value. They also highlight the three types of connectors: Thinkers, facilitators and connectors.
Thinkers have lots of ideas, facilitators bring people together and doers make things happen. Knowing who you are is essential to understanding your strengths, weaknesses and who you need to work with.
The authors make an important observation about the influence pyramid, which guides us to the people we need to connect with. Instead of aiming directly at the top of the pyramid, such as the CEO or President, we need to work our way up the pyramid. It is crucial to connect at every level and build a strong base of people with access to the top.
A mutually beneficial relationship requires generosity on both sides. Yet Super Connectors are not looking for an instant return on investment. Rather, they are looking for long-term reciprocity; they understand that every relationship can have its ups and downs.
This is why it is so important to maintain regular and timely contact with each of your relationships. By staying accountable to your relationships, you set the stage for a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship. (Paugh)
In addition to knowing great connectors, it is also important to have a networking strategy to put into action. The book Boost your career through networking, by Hervé Bommelaer. (Bommelaer)
The first thing to do is to set your main goal. According to the book, the main goal should be achieved within one year. If you don’t have a goal, you are unlikely to achieve it. Your goal can be: to be promoted, to change jobs, to start a new company, to be a consultant or whatever, but the goal must be SMART. The second thing to do is to define your intermediate goal. The intermediate objectives you will set for yourself allow you to mark out the path of your professional project, they are the important steps you will have to take. For example, if your goal is to become an expert in your field, your goals in a year’s time might be to complete your training, find a mentor, publish a book, work on your personal branding, etc.
To gain efﬁciency in your networking action, it is essential to identify priority contacts to reactivate or meet. You can also list the events you can attend to meet new people in order to achieve your objective.
Depending on your objective, individuals can belong to very different categories: bosses, colleagues, experts, consultants, journalists, etc. As a reminder, a good contact is someone who is interesting, professional, confident, who you can call, who can call you, with whom you can exchange information and advice, who recognises your skills.
Once you have set your main objective, your intermediate objectives, created your own CRM, identified your target and the super-connector, you have all the keys to create your action plan and it is important to plan deadlines and milestones like a project management because it is your own project.
We all have ways of approaching our network, based on my learnings from this article, I will now use this plan to find my internship place for my last year at Team Academy.
My goal is defined, I want to do my internship in a sports federation in Switzerland, such as Uefa, Fifa or other sports. My second goal is to have opportunities and contacts before the summer, so that I have time to plan everything by next November. I will then use a CRM tool to sort out my contacts and better target who would know someone in their various sports organisations. I am now convinced that I have some “super connectors” in my close network who can help me. If not, I have all the information to become one myself.
If you want to go further on the subject, I encourage you to read the book by J.Kelly Hoey “Build your dream Network”. The author’s vision is very realistic and the book is aimed at young entrepreneurs. (Hoey)
Jégo, J. (s.d.). Récupéré sur https://www.village-justice.com/articles/comprendre-reseautage-faire-efficacement-actions-cles,30757.html
Paugh, S. G. (s.d.). SuperConnector.
Bommelaer, H. (s.d.). Boost your career through your network .
Hoey, J. (s.d.). Build your dream Network.
Rey, J.-C. (s.d.).